We are greedily slurping at the cup of life and for the first time in a while we have family take advantage of ‘the yacht’ and the children are now at a perfect age to enjoy it more. So here’s how it began ………………….. like the old fashioned vacuum tube systems used for receipts in department stores – yes, I remember them – Benzies in Elgin. We are catapulted, pushed and pulled as we shoot around the boat working flat out to put things back together to go in the water the following day – busy, busy. The sun is shining, it’s very hot but our unusually warm weather break in Scotland has made the transition easier; racing against time to settle Selkie Dancer back into her watery preference. Selkie Dancer is still static, way up high; the ‘boys’ have completed their trail following photographic clues to find her when they first arrived.
Now, from below I hear “Granny, Granny” and there are Max, Lachie, Nick and Emma all ready for a day out.
Originally we had planned a very ordered return to sea, not having a trip until the next day but everyone was so excited that they were on the boat almost before it had come out of the cradle. We motored to our berth and once we had had some lunch we set off for a little anchorage nearby where everyone had fun in the water and got used to being on the boat. They were staying in an apartment only four minutes away so it was easy to link up. The following day Nick pre positioned their hire car in Vinisce and ran back to meet us for the sail round. We were under sail the whole way; a 10 minute drive or a twenty minute run on foot takes a couple of hours by sea! The boys kept themselves amused down below for some of the time. How creative they are! I had told them one of the Selkie myths and shown them a picture. Soon the story had been retold by Max and illustrated by Lachie. Both boys had paid attention to such detail – a very impressed Granny.
We had two days of respite while they explored the local area and then we met up again for another lovely day, swinging off a halyard into the sea, more kayaking, swimming and flossing – not the dental kind!
They spent the night before their departure on board, the boys somehow bagging the most comfortable bunks.
Breakfast and ablutions completed early they were off with a toot and a wave of the Jolly Roger. Hot bunking on Selkie Dancer – Mac, Sophia, Tom and Chloe arrived some eight hours later and were soon settling in and swimming on the nearby beach.
There were ups and downs and as Chloe is fond of saying “there’s good news and bad news”. The bad news day was when poor Sophia was struggling with Microsoft technology that was frustrating the writing of her essay. Mac was doing a noble job of keeping the children out of the way and amused, but under pressure caught the outboard propeller on something and broke the shear pin. Oh well we’ve been there before so we set too to replace it but it was very difficult to free and seemed to be stuck fast. In the end a combination of brute strength and WD40 did the trick and the day ended happily – probably with Pizza. There followed a few days while we provided a series of distractions from the essay writer. The children and their dastardly father made an attack on Selkie Dancer by pirate pedalina. Tom narrowly missed an A&E appointment when he launched himself down the slide right in front of the vessel while the pirate captain was still in forward gear.
We attempted some old fashioned board games to oppose the ipad and iphone games but the ipad is a powerful foe and it’s easiest if it’s battery dies or it’s not available.
Chloe was happy sorting my jewellery and we beaded a necklace together. She helped a lot in the galley. Oh how the genders are stereotyped!
Who is the chef and who the sous-chef?
Some memorable moments include this little exchange between Tom and Andy. Tom was standing, blocking the companionway when Andy wanted to get down for something. Andy said ‘stand aside for a senior officer’…………all we could hear in reply was the little piping voice proclaiming ‘you’re not a senior officer’. It did make us laugh. There was also adventure on the way to the shore, three times adventure. Andy, Mac, Tom & Chloe set off in the tender to the shore, children in life jackets, take note of that. We had noticed another small tender with one adult and two children trying to row against the fairly stiff off shore wind back to their boat, their outboard engine having failed. Team W-B to the rescue and they were soon returned safely by means of a tow rope and the strains of “paw patrol, paw patrol we’ll be there at the double”. The journey resumed but help was needed yet again. A boat hook had been dropped into the water while trying to hook a mooring buoy. Once again the team stepped up to the mark. The final and what could have been a more serious incident was losing Tom between tender and shore. After depositing him on terra firma they turned around to get Chloe off when they heard a big SPLASH! Oh where was Tom? Bubbles… and seconds later like the proverbial cork he popped up and spluttering was hauled back onto the shore, hauled up by the scruff of his neck like a kitten. All I could see was that the dinghy was now returning only five minutes after completing their final mission and obviously not having got the bread or whatever it was they had set off for, everyone had forgotten by now anyway. Confused, I counted them….. all there; I scanned their faces for some clue as to what had happened, Andy was looking patient, Mac could scarcely contain mirth, Chloe was serene, probably hadn’t noticed anything but I’ll never forget Tom’s expression. He was wearing a look of what I can only describe as stoic indignance, he was wet and cold now but enormously proud and impressed at having survived his adventure.
We sailed to Rogoznica and took the children off to sink ships, in reality targeting a piece of driftwood with small pebbles. Then we saw a red slide. It was quite high but the children showed no hesitation and were up and down it by themselves pretty quickly, it was very shallow where it entered the sea. Mac had already landed heavily on the soles of his feet; I thought I could avoid it by going in bum first – not a good idea. I am writing this seated uncomfortably on one buttock and am more comfortable standing! Γιαγια’σ need to take care of themselves.
We walked around the isthmus and imagined a perfect W-B house. Everyone was catered for and believe me it is pretty impressive. Pine cones fell from the trees and it was a while before they sussed us. Then we got to the beach, all are pebbly here, and swam and snorkelled. In the evening our two pilots watched with envy the low level handling skills of the pilots of a pair of water bombers as, for the second night in a row there were fires raging.
Mac could only stay for a week and on the day he left Andy and I took the children (not a backward glance and no calling for Mummy or Daddy, no not once) on a nine hour excursion to see the Krka falls. The essential packing for this sort of epic includes………….patience, sticker books, snacks, fruit, paper and coloured pencils, wipes and water. They were so good; the journey there was long but calm. We walked a fair distance with not one plea for a carry and looked at the dragonflies and fish and then had a swim in the freshwater and the now obligatory daily ice-cream – it is a holiday after all.
On the way home the sea was up and we had a bit of a roller coaster with a following sea with one poor child (not ours!) was screaming in fear and while ours shouted “woo hoo, we’re all going to die!” – not helpful but they were completely unperturbed, Paper, scissors, stone was hardly necessary…………………
There followed days which fell into a pattern. Find a buoy or anchor close enough to tender ashore, ferry the children for a walk and a swim, have an ice-cream and/or coffee, dawdle back to the boat where they can swim or enjoy a film.
Even when sailing GG was an extremely tolerant climbing frame and there were moments of calm when Chloe made models in plasticine
We introduced Pelmanism and on one night Tom stayed up to watch the lightning.
There were a couple of dramatic thunder storms during their stay and we were amazed how the children slept calmly through it although of course Tom claimed to have heard it all! Amazing that boy!
It has been great to watch confidence grow both in the water and around the boat over the last two weeks and with Daddy away Tom had to take on a new job of relaying the signals from anchor control.
We are now in shock. Selkie Dancer is quiet and I, at any rate, feel rather sad that they have all gone, flown away back to school. Still it’s the way and we hope they enjoyed it enough to repeat the holiday. We are off to Sicily, at the moment via Vis and Lastovo but all can change………………..
PS omitted to mention fridge failure, both heads (toilets) failing but not simultaneously, impetigo, a wasp sting – bravely born and mosquito bites